Culford School


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  • Category: Nursery / Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory / Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Methodist
  • Roll: 400 (Boys) 327 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 1 - 18 years
  • Founded: 1881

General Information

Culford has clear values. We want our pupils to achieve their full potential, whatever their talents, and believe that providing an education which is challenging, enriching and fun will deliver well-rounded, fulfilled, future leaders with excellent academic results. Culford is blessed with a unique setting and superb facilities, enjoying 480 acres of stunning Suffolk parkland where pupils can learn, feel secure, explore and enjoy all that is on offer. Culford also has a vibrant boarding community and a recent ISI inspection rated Boarding and Pastoral Care as excellent. Day pupils fold easily into the community with daily bus routes and the options of part and occasional boarding or an extended day.


In 2015 Culford opened a new £2.2million library at the academic heart of the school with 10,000 books, a lecture theatre, wifi throughout and a mezzanine space with a coffee bar for exclusive use by the Sixth Form. Culford also enjoys outstanding performing arts facilities with a professional Studio Theatre and a recording studio. There is a new gallery space for the art department and fully refurbished music school.

The Sports and Tennis Centre boasts a four court Indoor Tennis Centre, 25m swimming pool, squash courts, fitness suite and sports hall with a climbing wall. There are also outdoor tennis courts and 2 astro-turf pitches, one being built in partnership with Bury St Edmunds Hockey Club in 2016.

Extra-curricular activities are wide ranging and include scuba diving, climbing, horse-riding and outdoor pursuits such as the CCF, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and many adventure activities.

Entrance Requirements

Pre-Prep: Informal assessment. Prep & Senior School: Entrance examination and interview. For a copy of our prospectus, to arrange a visit or to book a place at an Open Morning, please call the Admissions Office on 01284 385308


Jubilee (All-Round), Academic, Art, Technology, Drama, Music, Rugby, Sport, Hockey, Swimming, Tennis, Golf and Cricket scholarships and exhibition awards are available. Awards are worth up to 25% fee remission.

Open Days

To book a place at one of our Open Events, or to arrange an individual visit, please contact our Admissions Team on 01284 385308 or email them on for more information.


2017/2018. Nursery: please contact the school for details.

Pre-Prep: £2,900 - £3130 per term. Prep: £3,770 – £4,940 (day), £7,375 - £7,785 (full boarding) per term.

Senior School: Day £6,330 per term, Boarding £9780 per term, International Boarding £10295 per term. International Study Programme £10,665 per term.

For prep international boarding fees and part boarding and extended day provisions, please contact the school for more details.


ISI Compliance Inspection 2017
ISI Inspection 2015
ISI Boarding Inspection 2012

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mr J F Johnson-Munday

Contact for enquiries: Mrs K M Tompkinson, Registrar

Culford School
IP28 6TX

[t]: 01284 385308
[f]: 01284 385513

Location Description

Set in 480 acres of beautiful and tranquil landscaped parkland.

To send an email to the school please fill in your details below and add a short message. If you are requesting a prospectus to be sent to you please include your postal address.

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School News

Culford independent day and boarding school Suffolk

Culford School’s Library has been shortlisted for the International SLA Inspiration Award 2017. The award is given to the School library space that shows inspiration,

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innovation, creativity and resourcefulness in its library design and in use.

This year, a record number of applications were received for the award. After much discussion, the judges were able to whittle down the competition to three primary schools and five secondary schools. Schools shortlisted for the award alongside Culford include  American School or Madrid, Headington School in Oxford and Adderley Primary in Birmingham.

Culford’s new library build started in September 2014 and opened just one year later in September 2015. The building includes a social learning foyer, tea and coffee facilities, an 80-seat lecture theatre and a galleried mezzanine area, reserved for Sixth Formers. Headmaster Julian Johnson-Munday said, “The stunning building offers an inviting, light and open space for our pupils to go and study and a place where they can fulfil their potential as independent learners. We are delighted to be shortlisted for this award.”

Every pupil in Senior School has at least one lesson a week in the library, with many Sixth Formers coming several times a week for Private Study. In the Summer Term, the library remains open in the evenings for Sixth Form boarders which proved really popular, with 40 or more each evening making use of the opportunity to revise in such ideal surroundings.

The new library foyer lends itself to events including a poetry open mic to celebrate National Poetry Day in October, and Christmas readings around our beautiful tree in December. The Watson Lecture Theatre has also proved its worth, being used as study rooms during the exam season and for seminars, Scholars’ Lectures and meetings.

The award celebration will take place on Monday 2 October where the winners will be announced.

Culford School’s Year 10 Boys’ team were crowned National Tennis Champions on Sunday 6 December after a fantastic performance which saw them defeat Merchiston Castle

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School, Lancaster School and Claires Court School.

This victory means that Culford ends the year ranked by the LTA as one of the top 3 schools nationwide for boys tennis and as one of the top 5 for girls.

The AEGON Team Tennis Schools competition involves 600 teams from across Great Britain. The boys’ success means that this is the most prestigious National tennis title ever won by Culford. The road to the Finals started in June with victory in the County Schools Championships and then after Regional knock-out matches the team won the South-East Regional Championships to qualify for the National Finals in Bolton.

David Hall, Director of Tennis, said, “It has been an incredible journey and I am so pleased for the team of Oscar Cutting, Karim Najia, Charlie James, Ed Pomeroy and Clemens Rathmanner. The Culford players were magnificent all weekend.”

Culford Tennis Scholars Oscar and Ed are from Suffolk, Charlie is from Cambridgeshire, Karim comes from London and Clemens is from Germany. All the boys are 15 years old.

The Year 10 Girls’ team also played extremely well, losing a very close final match to Millfield School and finishing in second place. The girls’ team members were Kira Reuter, Abby Taylor, Millie-Mae Matthews, Carolin Minners and Nerea Arraras.


Superb Tennis Programme at Culford

Culford School has excellent sporting facilities, with a superb Sports and Tennis Centre and much feted championship-standard four court Indoor Tennis Centre. Pupils have the support of elite coaches and a first-rate tailored tennis programme, alongside a first class education which ISI recently rated as ‘excellent’ at the Senior School.

During November 2015, Culford School pupils held their annual Charity Restaurant. Enjoying a wonderful meal in the beautiful surroundings of Culford Hall has become a

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seasonal tradition at the school. The students served 90 guests in all and raised £1,250.

The net profit will go entirely to the Kailash Bodhi School in Northern India. Culford have supported this school since an expedition party from the school visited the Himalayas in 1998, and saw the difficult conditions in which children were brought up and educated. In previous years, Culford has given considerable donations towards the KBS campaign for a school minibus and the pupils hope that the money raised by the restaurant will go some way towards helping the school again.

Justin Veitch, Maths teacher and organiser of the Charity Restaurant said, “I would like to say thank you to our chef Victor, the catering team and to the pupils who did a fabulous job”.

The pupils served guests in the restaurant and visitors were treated to a delicious menu including Chicken Supreme and Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce. Afterwards mince pies were served with hot drinks in the Workman Library.

Culford drama department’s latest production of Jean-Claude Grumberg’s L’Atelier was a sell-out success, displaying the student’s knack for naturalistic performance with excellent comic timing. It

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was performed for three nights in the school’s stunning state-of-the-art Studio Theatre to an audience of over 100 each night.

This was an engrossing evening of theatre where the young performers displayed a mature and sympathetic understanding of the diverse characters struggling to live day to day in post-war France and coming to terms with emerging and often unpalatable truths.

An impressive and atmospheric set displayed outstanding attention to detail: from the spools of thread, sewing baskets, fabrics and fashions through to the vintage labelled wine bottles and original hand turned sewing machines.

Director of Drama, Maria Jackson said “This was a challenging yet subtle piece for our students to perform. I was impressed with their ability to reflect the sensitivities of the play – the characters were compelling and their enjoyment of the performances shone through”.

The players held a collection for a Paris-based charity which provides practical and emotional support to individuals in times of crisis at the end of each performance. The school’s next production will be a musical which will take place in March 2016; for more information please email

More than 50 pupils from Culford Prep, South Lee, Barnardiston Hall, Moreton Hall and Town Close schools gathered together at Culford for a day of

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music at the school’s Strings Festival, hosted by celebrated violinist Steve Bingham.

The day started in spectacular style, with Steve’s fast paced demonstration on his electric violin and the effects he could achieve with his music software. He then took up his acoustic violin with another fantastic performance based on the hit ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ by 80s rock band Yes, showing that both the electric and acoustic types of violin could, in the right hands, handle modern music genres as well as old.

The rest of the day consisted of full orchestra practices mentored and conducted by Steve, and sectionals where pupils would split into particular instrumental groups to prepare for the ensemble concert at the end of the day.

Parents were invited to see the culmination of a full day’s music practice at the tea-time concert, where the children came together as an orchestra playing a Cha Cha & Tango, Clowns, The Pirates of the Aegean and an improvised piece led by Steve where he played a phrase that the young musicians had to play back as an echo.

Director of Music at Culford, Peter Burge, who organised the Festival, commented, “This has been another fantastic day of wonderful music making led by the inspirational Steve Bingham. All the pupils performed brilliantly throughout the day, presenting a very polished performance in the final concert. Everyone was won over by Steve’s superb electric violin demonstration where he played an impressive range of music from Telemann to Cold Play.”

The Campaign for Culford fundraising project reached another milestone on Tuesday 8 September when the new £2.2 million landmark Library building was officially opened at

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Culford School.

Almost exactly a year from the day that construction began pupils, alumni, teachers and staff gathered outside the completed building to watch Old Culfordian and generous benefactor to the project, Professor Harry Watson, cut the ribbon and declare the library officially open. Other special guests included: the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston; Patrick Cheung, Mayor of Bury St Edmunds; and the Reverend David Deeks, Chairman of the Methodist Independent Schools Trust. Professor Watson, who lived in Barrow as a boy, travelled all the way from Australia with his wife Adrienne to attend the event.

Headmaster Julian Johnson-Munday was keen to promote the Library as more than just a storage space for literature. He stressed that, “This stunning new building offers an inviting, light and open space for our pupils to go and study and a place where they can fulfil their potential as independent learners.”

He praised the hard work of the Foundation team for overseeing the project, but also recognised the dedication shown by the alumni and friends of the school who had contributed the funds that made the venture possible.

Built by Suffolk-based Seamans Builders and with bookcases designed and built by local specialist joinery company TMJ Interiors, the new Library houses ten thousand books and an 80-seat lecture theatre for guest speakers and author visits. There is also a mezzanine floor exclusively for use by Sixth Formers with coffee facilities, quiet study areas, group discussion areas and comprehensive IT facilities and wi-fi.

The Campaign for Culford was launched by the Foundation at Culford School in June 2013 to raise the necessary capital to build and improve facilities within the school. It has already allowed for the creation of a second girls’ boarding House, a £500,000 refurbishment of the kitchens and the opening of the Foundation art gallery. However, the Library project is the biggest challenge undertaken in the campaign so far.

Culford School’s charitable links with Malawi were renewed this summer as 20 Culford Sixth Formers gave their time to help improve schools, orphanages and day

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centres in the country. Working with charities such as the Char Char Trust, who promote literacy for life in Africa, and the Good News Orphanage, Culford’s pupils built toilets, taught in primary schools and gave radio interviews on the importance of literacy.

The team gave away 350 new books, funded through their own efforts, while in Malawi. Lesley Martin, Head Librarian at Culford, who was on this year’s trip, was particularly gratified by this emphasis on literacy, commenting “For me personally the focus on reading and libraries was very special as well as seeing how eagerly the children responded to the books we brought. It is always rewarding to see how our own pupils throw themselves wholeheartedly into everything – they worked really hard and seemed to love every minute.”

Blood reserves are also critically short in Malawi, and twelve of the team gave blood while in the city of Blantyre, adding 15 life-saving pints between them. The pupils taught in four Blantyre primary schools, and visited Nankhufi School where Culford volunteers have built classrooms during previous trips.

Providing extra learning space has always been a key objective of Culford’s Malawi work. One of the schools they visited had over 6,000 pupils yet only 34 classrooms, giving average class sizes of around 176.  The Culford-backed building programme is helping to dramatically reduce this figure.

The group were delighted to see Culford pupils from previous trips on the wall of fame inside the clinic, which is designed to encourage people to donate.

The pupils and teachers have returned from Malawi and will be supporting those participating in the 2015 trip during the next academic year. Culford’s annual Malawi trip is just one of the fulfilling and rewarding experiences that make up Culford’s Sixth Form Enrichment Programme, and proof that an education at Culford is indeed challenging, enriching and fun.


Culford School’s Drama department will be gracing the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. Following in the footsteps of the school’s production of

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Olwen Wymark’s play Find me, which went to the Fringe in 2011, the school is now taking an original production, The Press-Ganged Fool. 

The play was written and directed by two Culford teachers, Director of Drama Maria Kane, and Housemistress of Jocelyn House, Jessica Kaye, and was first performed in the school’s theatre in November last year. Following this success, the production is set to take to the stage again at The Paradise in Augustines Theatre from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 August at 4.30pm.

Culford’s unique production of The Press-Ganged Fool is a tale of mistaken identity and girl power on the high seas. Tavern maid Penny (Ciara Morrell) enlists as a less than able seaman under the command of poetry-penning skipper Captain Aye (Katie Hargreaves). Once aboard, she discovers a far from ordinary crew that could put her life in danger. Doom and gloom aside, this pulsating 12+ rated comedy will leave audiences cheering at heroes, hissing at villains and roaring with laughter. The show is a fast paced kaleidoscope of theatrical styles which will appeal to a wide audience, making it perfect for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August.

Julian Johnson-Munday, Headmaster at Culford School comments “The cast give an entirely original, witty and comical performance, capturing the traits of their characters perfectly. The Press-Ganged Fool will bring a smile to your face long after you step out the theatre.”

A member of the cast, Ciara Morrell (17) commented “I can’t wait to perform at The Fringe this summer. It’ll definitely be a once in a life time opportunity and with such a fantastic production I’m sure the audience will love it. It will also be great to watch other performances and to be part of such an enjoyable event.”

The performance will be held at 4.30pm everyday between Friday 8 August and Sunday 10 August 2014. Tickets are £5.00 per person or £3.00 for concessions and can be purchased directly from the website or from the box office on 0131 226 0026. Find more information and cast pictures on . 

Cast List

Emma Beardmore, Will Chapman, Harry Connor, Issy Davies, Joe Gilkes, Emma Hargreaves, Phoebe Howe, Tash Mead, Clara Morrell, Mariella Reason, Scarlet Simmons, , Tom Stanford, Hugo Von Bussman and ‘The Cat’.

Crew List

Director: Miss M. Kane

Words and Lyrics: Miss M. Kane and Miss J. Kaye

Composers: Miss M. Kane and Tom Stanford

Stage Manager: Sophie Mason

Costume and Makeup Manager: Elle McPherson

Lighting and Sound: Ross McKenzie, Martin Sharples. Mr J. Fox and Mr C. Christopher

Backstage Crew: Alex Waterman
Drama at Culford has always been popular but has grown in popularity especially since the opening of the Studio Theatre in 2006, and the appointment of a dedicated Director of Drama.  Culford offers Drama Scholarships for pupils aged 13+ and 16+ each year, and two of the cast of The Press Ganged-Fool are Drama Scholars and one is a Drama Exhibitioner. For more information on Culford Scholarships please contact the Admissions Office on 01284 385308.

Culford Prep School marked the end of the academic year in style by holding their traditional Prize Giving ceremony. Over 200 pupils aged 7 to

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13 attended, together with their parents, families, teachers and friends at the school.

The event took place on Thursday 3 July as a celebration of the pupils’ achievements. Prizes were awarded for academic, sporting and artistic success throughout the year and prizewinners were presented with a certificate and a selection of books. All pupils in Year 8 were given a Common Entrance award to mark the end of their time at the Prep School.

Speeches were made during the afternoon by Headmaster, Mike Schofield and the guest speaker, Dr Lara Menzies MB BChir MA, PHD, MRCPCH, who handed out certificates and congratulated the children as they took to the stage. Lara is a paediatrician at the University College London and University College Hospital and contributor to leading scientific journals and radio broadcasts.

After the speeches were complete, pupils and guests enjoyed refreshments in the glorious sunshine on the South Front of Culford Hall.


Photograph by Andy Abbott

Culford Senior School’s rugby players triumphed at the prestigious Reed’s School Sevens tournament last week, winning the all Eastern Counties final 36-24. In glorious sunshine

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and with firm conditions underfoot, a welcome change from last month’s waterlogged pitches, the Culford side overcame Pangbourne School 24-12 in the semi-finals, leaving them to face Felsted School in the finals, following Felsted’s 20-12 win over Reed’s. Setting aside bad memories of conceding a four try lead over Felsted School in the group stages, Culford established an early lead, with tries from Toby White and Malcolm Onsando. Despite brave attempts from Felsted to repeat their comeback display of the earlier stages, Culford’s players furthered their lead, winning the final 36-24.
Culford’s players boast an impressive CV of appearances between them, including England U16 squad member Tristan Rawcliffe, Lambs squad member Juyin Oluweyami, London & South-East Clubs and Schools squad member Toby White and Kenyan international Malcolm Onsando.
Mark Bolton, Culford Prep School’s Director of Sport and Activities and former professional rugby player, commented “The boys have been working hard during 7s training and they played with creativity and understanding. It was a great performance from all of the players and this success has capped off a fantastic rugby season.”
Culford School offers rugby scholarships from age 13, worth up to 25% of school fees, which include a year round training programme. For further information, please contact Admissions on 01284 385308 or email

Old Culfordian Harry Reidy was named last night by the Saatchi Gallery as the winner of its prestigious Saatchi Gallery/Deutsche Bank Art Prize for Schools.

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The win rewards Culford’s art department with £10,000, as well as £2,000 for Harry Reidy to spend on art and computer equipment. Harry is currently studying at Kingswood College, South Africa.

As one of the largest international competitions in the world, the Saatchi Gallery Art Prize for Schools is open to primary, secondary and sixth form schools throughout the world, with the prize this year receiving over 16,000 entries from 33 countries. Inspired by the grounds of Culford School, Harry created the shortlisted sculpture as part of his A-level studies at Culford whilst in the Upper Sixth in 2012/13.

The judges for this year’s prize included the author and illustrator Laura Dockrill, art advisor to Deutsche Bank and critic Alistair Hicks, artist Bob and Roberta Smith and Saatchi Online director Rebecca Wilson. Bob and Roberta Smith, Artist and judge commented, “It was such fun, and at times moving, looking through submissions to the Saatchi Gallery/ Deutsche Bank Art prize for Schools. Many of the images really sung out to me! Young people’s art is so appealing because it’s all about the ‘cry’ of the artist. As artists develop art can become about the language of art, but in many of the works in this show it’s as if you can hear some of the strong voices of the art of the future.”

The Saatchi Gallery has almost 30 years of history in supporting emerging artists and bringing contemporary art to as wide an audience as possible. This prize is a central part of that work, encouraging budding young artists by providing them with a platform to showcase their work and the confidence to consider a career in the arts. The 20 shortlisted entries are showcased in an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery until 5 March.

Culford School recently launched its newly refurbished Art gallery, part of The Campaign for Culford, with an exhibition of work by students of the Royal Academy Schools in October 2013. Culford Art scholarships are also available from age 13, please contact the Admissions Office on 01284 385308 for more information.

Culford Senior School pupil Lucy Holder has been selected to represent England in the U16 England hockey squad of 22 players.

Lucy will be competing in

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training camps held at the English Institute of Sport at Lilleshall and Bisham Abbey training grounds, and will play for England in competitive matches against other European nations.

The culmination of Lucy’s training as part of the squad will be the Four Nations Cup which is to be held in August this year, where she will play alongside the best players from Germany, Holland, and Spain.

Culford’s Head of Hockey, Matt Copping, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to be selected for the final 22 players in the squad and a reflection of all the hard work and dedication to training that Lucy has put in over the past year or so. We will all be watching and cheering her along!”

The concert, which was produced entirely by pupils, featured acts performing songs from artists as diverse as Arctic Monkeys, Pink, The Who and Chaka Khan.

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The show was enhanced by professional lighting, and pupils, parents and staff alike commented on the high standard of musical performance.

Culford’s Director of Music, Peter Burge, commented “C2014 was a fantastic event, involving a tremendous amount of talent from across the whole school. It was great to see original music being performed alongside creative covers. King Bood will now be going forward to represent Culford at the West Suffolk Rock and Pop awards at the Apex Theatre on Thursday 27th February – we wish them every success!”

As well as a fantastic night out, C2014 raised funds for Nordoff Robbins, a charity which delivers music services and therapy that transforms the lives of vulnerable people of all ages across the country, by giving them the ability and confidence to express themselves through music.


Culford Senior School’s 1st XI Girls Hockey squad made history last weekend (7 December) by winning their final match of the term and therefore recording

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an unbeaten season for the first time in the school’s history.

Throughout the course of the season, the team recorded notable victories over Bishop’s Stortford, Felsted and The Leys, and had a high scoring draw against The Perse. There were also comprehensive victories over Bedford Modern, RHS, Langley, King’s Ely, Wymondham and Wisbech, where Culford scored more than 4 goals in each of these games.

It has been a remarkable season for the squad who have really developed as players under the guidance of Head of Hockey, Matt Copping, who took over the role 18 months ago. “The girls have all improved immensely in the time I have been working with them,” he commented, “and they have shown a real desire and passion to succeed in every training session.” He added, “The girls’ determination is reflected in the style of play the team now adopt in each match and it is this attacking style of hockey which meant they scored a total of 59 goals and conceded only 12 – a truly fantastic achievement all round.”

Culford offers Hockey scholarships from age 13. For further information please contact the admissions office on 01284 385308 or visit

A team of four pupils from Culford Senior School has been ranked GB’s number four tennis team following the AEGON Year 10 and Under National

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Finals at Bolton Arena last weekend.
The Culford team, comprising Maria Andrews (15), Lizzie Pam (15), Kira Reuter (13) and Hannah Vickers (15), with Anastasia Mozhina (14) in reserve, were one of a final four teams in the UK to be competing in the National Finals after their win at the South East Regional Finals last month. The rankings take into account the performance of 577 teams nationwide from all age groups who entered LTA school tennis competitions this year.
The Culford squad won 6-0 against teams from both Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Horncastle, Lincolnshire and Holmfirth High School, West Yorkshire, placing them in a final match against defending champions and number one seeds, Talbot Heath School, Bournemouth. Despite playing another great match, the opposition proved too strong and a 5-1 defeat ended Culford’s dream of lifting the title, leaving the girls as runners-up.
Culford’s Director of Tennis David Hall commented “I am so proud of the attitude and commitment that the girls showed all weekend. Their ability to rise to the occasion in such a prestigious event is a real credit to them.”
Culford offers tennis scholarships from age 10. For further information please contact the admissions office on 01284 385308 or visit

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